Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: Ira Hinckley Paper Box Factory Building Common Name: National Sign Co.
Style: Gothic - Collegiate Gothic Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1920

This rather distinctive factory building (due to the remnant Gothic Revival details) was constructed for Ira Hinckley who probably acquired the property as part of his father’s estate. Historically, the land area between the original <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake <st1:placename w:st="on">Union shoreline to the east, <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Galer Street to the north, <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Sixth Avenue to the west and <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Highland Drive to the south was part of the Timothy D. Hinckley pioneer homestead. Timothy Hinckley, a marine engineer, came to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Seattle c. 1853 and established a family home at <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">1401 Westlake Ave. N (at the foot of <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Galer St. – in 1905 the house & approx 2.04 acres remained) near this parcel where he raised nine children (including Walter, Ira and Lyman). Timothy Hinckley is known to have also farmed the homestead and acquired surrounding and other real estate for investment purposes. In the immediate post-fire era he had the Hinckley Block (designed by John Nestor) constructed at the SW corner of <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Second Avenue and <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Columbia Street – the center of the then-emerging banking and shopping district. By 1900, Ira’s brother (Walter R. Hinckley) was the manager of the Hinckley Block, a position he held for at least two and half decades. By 1910s or earlier, Ira Hinckley appears to have established himself in the real estate business. In the post-WWI era after the completion of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Lake Washington <st1:placetype w:st="on">Ship Canal, the South Lake Union district entered a period of increased development of new industrial and commercial enterprises spurred by improved transportation systems. During this period both Ira and Walter Hinckley developed family property with new buildings intended for manufacturing purposes. [Walter developed the extant nearby machine shop building located at <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">1235 Westlake Avenue N.] According to microfilm building permit records Mr. Ira Hinckley obtained Permit #190339 (issued Feb-23-1920) “To erect bldg a paper Box factory.” These records indicate that the project designed according to plans prepared by Ivey & Riley architects. The building was remodeled in 1947 and appears to have remained in the ownership of the Mrs. Ira (Grace) <st1:place w:st="on">Hinckley until at least as late as 1972. The parapet appears to have been removed and altered due to damage related to the 1965 earthquake.

The factory was designed and built to serve as a paper box factory. The original tenant of the building may have been <st1:place w:st="on">Union Paper Box Manufacturing Co., the tenant that occupied the building in 1936. In 1947 (at the time of the remodel) it was converted to serve as a bottling plant operated by the Maroboro Beverage Company. It appears to have served that function until 1960 when it became the warehouse and plant for Neon Acme Sign Company. It has served as the offices and warehouse for the national Sign Company since 2003.

The subject building was designed for Mr. Hinckley by Ivey & Riley architects. Edwin J. Ivey (1883-1940) was born in Seattle and a 1910 graduate of the U Penn architectural program. He practiced in partnership w/ Warren H. Milner (1911), served as a draftsman for Joseph Cote (1913) and operated an independent private practice when he designed many speculative houses (1914-1918) prior to entering into partnership w/ Howard H Riley from 1918-1921.

During this partnership, the design work broadened to include industrial buildings (including a machine shop for Walter R. Hinckley 1919), apartment and commercial buildings as well as some schools, along with single-family houses.  Shortly before the partnership dissolved in 1921, Ivey hired Elizabeth Ayer (during her senior year at the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">University of <st1:placename w:st="on">Washington) and became her professional mentor.  During the 1920s, they designed several grand houses including: the 1922 alterations to the “Thornewood” estate on <st1:placename w:st="on">American <st1:placetype w:st="on">Lake south of <st1:city w:st="on">Tacoma; “Belleterre” (1923-25) in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Lakewood for David C. Scott; the A. W. Leonard residence (1923-24) in Seattle, “Brookwood” (1924-26) in The Highlands for C. W. Stimson, and the Paul M. and Langston C. Henry mansions (1927-28) in The Highlands. By the end of the 1920s, Ivey branched out into real estate development, as head of the Ferry Investment Company. (Credit: David Rash, Shaping <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Seattle Architecture, 2014)

Howard Huston Riley (1890-1950).  Born in Lima, Ohio; arrived in Seattle by 1910 and working as a drafter; studied architecture at University of Pennsylvania, 1910-12;  in partnership Yelland & Riley with Louis Yelland (May 1876-?), Victoria, B.C., 1912-14, and Seattle, 1914; designed “Tanhaven” (William V. Coon residence), Victoria, (1913; altered), J. V. Perks residence, Fairfield, B.C. (1913); employed by B. Marcus Priteca (see essay), Seattle, 1915-16; by Link & Haire, Butte, Montana, 1916-17; by Edwin J. Ivey (see essay) in 1918; in partnership Ivey & Riley, 1918-21; designed Flora Hahn house, Seattle (1919), L. A. Levensale residence, Seattle (1920), Frank H. Cooper residence, Lake Forest Park (1921); in private practice after 1921; designed Fremont Baptist Church, Seattle (1924), Alpha Chi Omega (now Alpha Xi Delta) sorority house, Seattle (1926); Brooklyn Building, Seattle (1928-29; destroyed, 1970), A. J. Eyerdam residence, Seattle (1941); died in Seattle.  (Credit: David Rash, Shaping <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Seattle Architecture, 2014).


Two story, concrete and brick factory building measures approx. 80’ X 121’ with 40’ X 91’ rear wing – concrete foundation, no basement. Features of Significance: generally intact original building form with seven structural bays at facade; heavily decorated central entry bay – Collegiate Gothic details; variegated brick cladding and terra cotta detail; original window and delivery bay openings at façade; some original multi-pane three-part window units with transom lights remain.

Alterations: Modern garage doors and sash/window units at second floor; entire parapet with pointed pediment at central bay has been removed. The exterior appearance of the building indicates that there may be serious structural problems.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick - Common Bond Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Manufacturing Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Feb 10, 2014

Photo taken Feb 10, 2014
App v2.0.1.0